Joomla! 3.0 - JUX Doing It
In this interview with Kyle Ledbetter, leader of the Joomla User Experience (JUX) Team, find out what's in store for users, both frontend and backend, with Joomla 3.0!
What are the main areas the JUX team has focused on for the 3.0 release?
The JUX team has taken on a tremendous amount of scope for 3.0. We've touched just about every single file in Joomla to provide a new installation process, new admin template (Isis), new admin component output, new frontend template (Protostar), new frontend component output, and a new Joomla User Interface library to power all this.
In your opinion, what are the three coolest things users can look forward to in 3.0?
- Extensions developers can build a component without one line of CSS, completely powered by the JUI. Think of the JUI like a Joomla SDK.
- Template developers can harness the power of LESS CSS and Bootstrap to completely change the entire frontend (or backend) UI in one compiled template.css.
- Completely responsive design for the entire frontend and admin user experience.
Bootstrap is a part of 3.0 - can you expand on the benefits Bootstrap will bring to users and to extension developers?
The main benefit of Bootstrap is what we get for "free". Bootstrap is by far the most extensive, adopted and tested UI framework. We've built the JUI and extended Bootstrap for Joomla's needs.
Extension developers can rapidly prototype and develop their components without having to worry about creating their own CSS or UI. The extension dev can focus on features and UX.
Template developers will no longer have to fight each and every component and add custom CSS. The template dev can design once for all components.
End users only have to learn the UI once since it will be standardized and familiar across all components. The end users also get the convenience of Joomla working on everything from their desktop to their phone.
Let's talk about templates: what's new on the admin side?
We've built a completely new admin template named Isis. The name continues with the Egyptian theme of the previous Hathor and Khepri admin templates. Isis is completely powered by Bootstrap (and the JUI), and takes a new approach to the Joomla admin. The top menu features one level of dropdown and takes the user into a component-immersive experience. Components now have an optional left sidebar for their submenu and any other component tools such as form filters. Various UI layouts have been constructed for all the scenarios a component may need.
We've reworked the UI and UX of several areas. Manager list views now feature drag'n'drop reordering and optimized layouts that will adjust to fit any browser width. The editing experience has been completely reworked to emphasize the actual text editor, and tuck away less used options. Module position selection has moved from a disjointed modal window to a streamlined select box in which you can quickly search or add a position. The 3.0 admin now features a centralized Component settings view in which you can quickly configure all your components instead of jumping from one to another. The admin template logo and color can also be easily customized. There's lots more on the way as well.
Are there changes with the default Joomla templates that come loaded?
Yes, there is a new frontend template named Protostar. The name continues with the space theme of previous templates such as Solarflare and Milkyway. Protostar is a minimal template built on Bootstrap which is very easy to customize via template parameters. An end user can change the overall color, logo and choose between fluid or static widths.
What is happening with accessibility?
Bootstrap has received some criticism on the accessibility front. This is a great example of how Joomla is extending Bootstrap and making it better. The Joomla Bug Squad and Translations Team are helping to improve the multilingual and RTL support. We're also receiving valuable feedback from the community on color choices and better support for screen readers.
Bootstrap has also been criticized on their semantics and several Joomla community developers are volunteering to help improve that front as well.
Going mobile: what's new with Joomla and small devices? Can I now administer my website from my smartphone?
Yes, since Joomla 3.0 is completely responsive you can access the admin from your phone and do just about every admin task. Even better, if component devs follow the new standards you'll be able to do this with all installed components as well. The same goes for the frontend.
Thank you for the interview Kyle, and for making your life busier so that the Joomla user experience can keep getting easier!